Thursday, September 25, 2014

Top Seven Countdown #2: Staging an Uprising

Staging an Uprising

Theologian Karl Bart once wrote, "To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world."  Imagine that!  When we pray, we can begin an uprising, a revolt, against the disorder and the evil of this world.  Isn't that wonderful?  As I look at the twin problems of the persecuted church and the proliferation of terrorist activity in our world, it seems an uprising against the disorder is exactly what we need!

In fact, an uprising is exactly what I am proposing.  Let's start a revolt!  Don't you think that's a great idea? I'm tired of the evil in the world, and ready for a change, aren't you? Let's have nice for awhile!

In order to stage a revolt through prayer, we probably need to take a look at the Biblical instructions about prayer.  After all, what good is a poorly done prayer revolt?  There are many verses in the Bible about praying, but perhaps the best place to start is with the "red letter" verses, looking at what God's Son said on the subject.  

If we want to approach God about something, we need to clear the air with others first.  In Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus said that, if we have bitterness and unforgiveness towards someone, we have to deal with those issues FIRST before our sacrifice will be accepted.  If God doesn't even accept our gifts to Him when we have bitterness and unforgiveness towards someone, you can be pretty much assured your prayers are not going to accomplish a revolt either.  Are you angry with someone?  Are you holding a grudge?  Has someone hurt you "too much" to forgive?  Get over it!  That's the only way to be effective in the prayer revolt effort.  I'm not saying that it's easy.  We like to nurse our hurts, however Jesus said it is a must.  

If we want the evil in the world to decrease, we must pray for the evil doers.  Theoretically, that sounds like a good thing.  In reality, this means praying for the meanest person you know, the person who has hurt the ones you love the most, and the most wicked, evil person you've ever heard about.  Those terrorists who masterminded 9/11?  We should be praying for them.  Those terrorists who kidnapped the schoolgirls in Nigeria?  We have to pray for them.  The person who murdered someone you know, the drug dealers who sell to school children?  They should all be subjects of our prayer.  Don't mistake this praying for enemies and persecutors as optional.  It is not.  Jesus commanded it very clearly in Matthew 5:44. "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you."  You can't get any clearer than that. I'm not saying that it's easy, however Jesus said it is essential.  

If we want to change the world through our prayers, we need to want it enough to fast for it.  Jesus expected that we would fast, and he said that very thing in Matthew 6: 17.  "When you fast..."  There is nothing optional about it.  There is also nothing public about it, either. Fasting, according to Jesus, is between us and God.  If you start telling people about your fast, you get all the blessing you will receive from the attention you gather.  If you want to add fuel to a prayer revolt by fasting, you will have to keep it between you and God.  I'm not saying that is easy.  We like to tell about our sacrifices.  Jesus says it has to be that way. 

We can bring change to our world.  We can, that is, if we will.  By loving our enemies, forgiving those who hurt us, praying for the scoundrels and thugs, and fasting secretly, we become ready to do battle through prayer, and when we do, we also prepare for victory.  Dear ones, will you join me?  Let's start an uprising and change the world!